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kally
9-13-15, 2:52pm
I have such mixed feelings about our house. On the one hand I don't think you can make a lot of things from scratch and work on all kinds of cool projects and keep your house looking like something properly decorated.

On the other hand, when I go to beautiful homes I am downright jealous and feel inadequate.
This has to be something personal in me. I want to live a simple life, I want to cook a plant based diet and have a garden and do hobbies that I love.

Have you ever had these feelings? I know I should just say, "well this is how we live, like it or lump it." but it doesn't seem that easy to me.

Any thoughts?

Chicken lady
9-13-15, 6:10pm
What is you definition of properly decorated? I think you should start keeping track of environments that make you comfortable/uncomfortable and collect pictures of houses you like and see where that takes you.

SteveinMN
9-13-15, 10:07pm
I love the monochromatic simple homes seen in dwell magazine -- the many linear feet of uninterrupted counterspace, the walls of cabinet doors hiding all the clutter. But in real life, dragging the coffeemaker out of a cabinet every night and plugging it in before getting it ready for morning coffee would just drive me crazy.

There has to be a balance between whatever one perceives as beautiful and the way we actually live. In our case, the coffeemaker and grinder grace the countertop because they are used pretty much every day. The toaster, used maybe twice a week, is behind closed doors.

In our house, each of us gets a room to pretty much do with as we like -- preferred décor, preferred contents (a lot of recycling ends up in my room for some reason). The doors on those rooms close and life is better for both of us that way. :)

JaneV2.0
9-13-15, 10:28pm
I would consider starting with the workshop theme, and work from there. Play to your strengths (and the strengths of your dwelling). I've been in a few grand/professionally decorated homes, and never enjoyed them like I did houses that reflected the personalities of their owners.

pony mom
9-13-15, 11:30pm
I think that "properly decorated" homes usually have a sort of theme that ties everything together, hopefully reflecting the owner's interests. There are probably a lot of things you can make that won't look too hokey that would suit your personality. Like gardening---having botanical-themed prints (you can press and frame leaves), a glass bowl filled with interesting pebbles and topped with dried flowers (just did this in my bathroom). Display some books you enjoy...all easy. Cozy up a chair with a favorite blanket and light up with a small lamp.

My mom has a great eye for decorating and visitors to our home always enjoy looking at everything. It's filled with interesting things but not overdone, with sort of a nature/animal theme; not on purpose, it's just what she likes.

I like the bare minimalist look, but honestly I'd get bored not seeing my well-loved things displayed. Pretty books, framed photos and a figurine just looks cozy and lived in.

kib
9-14-15, 12:01am
My personal issue is cords and wires. Ugliest thing, all those cords leading from every lamp and device to every outlet, a spider's web of wires on the walls, wires marring the perfection of a designer table, wires festooning the ceiling. But I've finally realized that the pictures of gorgeous homes I see, and the occasional 'perfect party' I attend, where there are no such things, are simply not realistic. I think Steve is right, a lot of what looks great in the magazines represents a degree of precision (or obsession) I can't duplicate; I want my coffee first thing, not after five minutes of fiddling.

lessisbest
9-14-15, 8:06am
I got my best instruction for interior decorating (other than from hubby who has a degree in Interior Architecture) from watching the Lynette Jennings TV show (probably available on YouTube). She went through the basics of design and made it make sense and easy to do. And even before that there was Kitty Bartholomew on early HGTV. Another TV personality who taught a lot of basics was Christopher Lowell - check your local public library for his book - Seven Layers of Design. That book will help you address each part of good design.It's best if you understand the basics before making yourself crazy trying to get it "right".

We've been house hunting since Dec. 2014 and have been through LOTS of open houses, and we're so turned-off by homes we call "Hobby Lobby" homes. It looks like the homeowners raid Hobby Lobby and heavily ply the "stuff" everywhere. "Stuff" isn't the same as decorating. "Stuff" is so impersonal, just like the staged homes we've looked through.

TxZen
9-14-15, 9:06am
A few years ago, I removed all pre-made items from my house that were not deeply personal IE: We had a name picture made and something for our son's birth. I now have my home filled with my own photography, the few crafts we have made over the years (we framed my son's nicest pics from school and they hang in my office) and a few other very personal memento's. My house is also somewhere between the beach meets industrial meets Texas for design. LOL I go with what I like, even if a piece seems quirky to others ( hot pink side table in the living room). I don't worry what other's think. I THINK my house represents us perfectly.

peggy
9-14-15, 10:48am
One really easy fix is paint. Sometimes what we lack is color and a splash of something other than white on the walls just wakes everything else up. And it's easy to do really.

As for those magazines pictures, kib is right. Look at those pictures and you don't see wires anywhere. lamps on tables without cords, tv's and computers 'floating' in the middle of the room without any apparent power. And there is always a half eaten cake or tea cups and cookies as if the photographer surprised some wild animals in the woods who scurried off leaving their kill. Or there are three bushels of apples/lemons/other fruit tucked under the side table waiting for ? Oh and drapes! Great huge puddles of drapes on the floor as if no cats/dogs/or dust ever lived in that house.>8)

catherine
9-14-15, 11:07am
I have never spent much money on decorating and I've grappled with all the questions you raise here. My house was really pathetic for a long time--I could have done so much more, but I got caught up in the "some day I'm going to refinish this bench" and the bench sat there for years all scratched and beat up and not matching anything… and that's just one example. I had a microwave balancing precariously on a table once because I "meant to" get it installed properly, which meant removing and replacing a cabinet above the stove, so THAT never happened. And I always "meant to" replace the really, really worn 70s vinyl floor tiles, but it actually didn't happen until 2 years ago, when DH and I bought floating floors and installed them ourselves.

I think you've gotten good advice here: To sum up some and add a couple:

1) start with basics: if you're going to invest, invest in the walls and floors. Paint the walls and replace/refinish floors. You'll be surprised at what that can do.
2) Have a unifying theme, as pony mom suggests. You can still have furniture bought piece-meal at thrift shops, but tie them together with a style, or a color.
3) As Jane said, know your limitations. If you're hopelessly optimistic about your abilities in the DIY area, don't tell yourself you'll do something you won't.
4) Keep in mind/learn some basic design principles. I read once that your primary color should be 60%, your second color 30% and 10% your accent color.

At this point, I love my "wabi-sabi" home. It is FAR from "decorated" but I think it looks nice, because I finally realized where I should spend money and where money is not going to help.

Chicken lady
9-14-15, 11:31am
TxZen, I love that idea for " undecorating."

I would have to stretch it to include things that are well loved even though they are not personal/sentimental, and things that are very useful, but that is definitely the sort of vibe I want in my house.

kib
9-14-15, 12:33pm
A few years ago, I removed all pre-made items from my house that were not deeply personal IE: We had a name picture made and something for our son's birth. I now have my home filled with my own photography, the few crafts we have made over the years (we framed my son's nicest pics from school and they hang in my office) and a few other very personal memento's. My house is also somewhere between the beach meets industrial meets Texas for design. LOL I go with what I like, even if a piece seems quirky to others ( hot pink side table in the living room). I don't worry what other's think. I THINK my house represents us perfectly. I remember some years ago feeling very surprised at all the "art" showing up in places like Walmart. It had never even occurred to me to put things into my home that have no personal meaning or aren't hand made, other than posters as a teenager. I still don't, but I'm losing patience with my own attraction to fiddly little things. I could use a few pieces of properly scaled wall art that has some meaning, and about 1/4 as many bits of pottery, wood carvings and so on. Too bad my budget feels differently.

JaneV2.0
9-14-15, 2:24pm
I like posters as art even now. Fortunately, my living room is literally all windows (OK, and a fireplace), so I don't feel compelled to hang anything there. Someday, though. I'll probably go with quilts, my own art work, other people's...I've collected some fiber arts pieces that will decorate my "studio." One in particular is a 3'x3' mola in red with black and other colors that I found for four dollars at Value Village.

Gardenarian
9-14-15, 5:11pm
Hi kally,

I really understand what you mean. My daughter recently started public school, after having been at home (homeschooling) for the past 16 years.
I am enjoying not having science experiments and art projects on every surface, books and drawings and musical instruments strewn throughout the house!

On the other hand, that is the stuff of life! But it is nice not to have to be living in a workshop/classroom, and I do have the decorating bug.

I'm not buying any "decor" items - we are in a new-to-us house and I'm spending a lot of time deciding where everything should live and I've got rid of tons of clutter. I am looking forward to having everything unpacked and "finished" one of these days. I really want to feel comfortable having people over anytime; for me, that means keeping things low-maintenance and also having realistic standards.

Like Steve, we do have places where we can be messy and shut the door - but I like having a tidy kitchen and living room.

I'm not real craftsy (despite my Pinterest boards) but I am doing things like hemming old curtains to fit, putting up hooks, and have plans to paint the kitchen in the next week or so. Right now I'm mainly focused on getting our landscaping done before winter. Lots of digging.

My daughter sometimes comes home from a friend's house and says "It looks just like a magazine!" That won't be my house :)

Chicken lady
9-14-15, 5:13pm
Kib, have you tried arranging some of yor "fiddle bits" in a frame/shadowbox/wall shelf?

The thing with me - I'm a potter. My daughter is a potter (or an architect if one wants to talk paychecks). My son dabbles in pottery. I have, in my cupboard, a made in china coffee mug wishing me a Merry Christmas 2005 from the cut your own tree farm. Know what I don't have? A continuing relationship with the family that took us there to cut the tree. So why do I have the mug?! Why is the 25 y.o. Poly/cotton bedspread still on the guest bed where i see it every day and my great grandmother's quilt in the cedar chest? Why do we own a target toothbrush holder?

It's like cake mix. I can make a cake from scratch. I have a son who can INVENT a cake from scratch. And yet I still succumb to 99 cent sale cake mix. Why? It's not going to be very good. It's not much faster or easier. I don't think it's even cheaper.

Chicken lady
9-14-15, 5:18pm
Oh, a thought on musical instruments. They should be "stored" in the open, close at hand, and played often. I do not play the guitar, but I will never again have living room without a guitar. Because now that the guitar lives on the stand in the living room, everyone - family and friends - who does play the guitar picks it up and plays it.

It is so much nicer to have dh pick up the guitar while I am finishing dinner than to have him pick up the remote!

kib
9-14-15, 6:10pm
Kib, have you tried arranging some of yor "fiddle bits" in a frame/shadowbox/wall shelf?

The thing with me - I'm a potter. My daughter is a potter (or an architect if one wants to talk paychecks). My son dabbles in pottery. I have, in my cupboard, a made in china coffee mug wishing me a Merry Christmas 2005 from the cut your own tree farm. Know what I don't have? A continuing relationship with the family that took us there to cut the tree. So why do I have the mug?! Why is the 25 y.o. Poly/cotton bedspread still on the guest bed where i see it every day and my great grandmother's quilt in the cedar chest? Why do we own a target toothbrush holder?

It's like cake mix. I can make a cake from scratch. I have a son who can INVENT a cake from scratch. And yet I still succumb to 99 cent sale cake mix. Why? It's not going to be very good. It's not much faster or easier. I don't think it's even cheaper.
Oh I totally identify! I don't have so much machine made stuff, but I sculpt ... rather poorly. All this stuff is about the same size, somewhere between a softball and a cantaloupe. From the semester of throwing, quite a few not-awful but extremely heavy vases. I'm slowly getting rid of stuff that's of no use, but the ones that were a great idea badly executed are hardest.

Actually the hardest is stuff DH brings me as souvenirs. He wants to give me something and I really appreciate the thought, but the actual stuff is ... well it's just more damn Stuff. The shelves are full, the cabinet I have for travel souvenirs going back to my childhood is full ... I just don't need another vase, stuffed animal or resin "sculpture". I don't necessarily want something "indigenous to the region" if it's not to my taste. Bring me a picture!

Chicken lady
9-14-15, 6:36pm
Mine finally got it. I think it was the look in my eyes when i saw the "gifts" dd's s.o. brought her from his trip across the country.

Dh went to Japan. He brought ds dried fish snacks and dd2 funny socks and dd1 a fancy pen. And he brought me a tiny little shell that he picked up off the beach. I put it in the potted plant that lives in my window. So when I see it, I remember that he was standing in Japan, looking at the pacific ocean, and thinking about me.

My pottery studio has a concrete floor. I find that dropping the bad pots in a moment of good judgement saves me from keeping them later. :-)

Gardenarian
9-14-15, 6:53pm
Oh, a thought on musical instruments. They should be "stored" in the open, close at hand, and played often. I do not play the guitar, but I will never again have living room without a guitar. Because now that the guitar lives on the stand in the living room, everyone - family and friends - who does play the guitar picks it up and plays it.


Oh, I agree about the guitars - and ukes, and basses, and recorders - but it is so nice to have them go back in the stands (most of mine are on wall hooks) when they are not being used :)

ctg492
9-15-15, 6:50am
I have zero decorating skills or accessorizing clothing. I feel most times I have a homey home, very clean, I paint a lot since changing colors changes the room for me. But past that blah walls and furniture. I am great with gardens and outside natural decor and the neighbors always comment on my lovely yard. Having said that, Husband is a New Shinning Penny out of House Beautiful type person.

Now my next door neighbor's have their home for sale and the YouTube video is WOW, I had never been in their home. The other neighbors are of the same feeling as me WOW. The owner had hired a decorator to just touch up and ready for sale, even though she had lovely furnishing and decor to begin with. I am not a keep up with the Jones, but......I have been left with a feeling which Will pass, of my house could look like that. SO I spent the afternoon looking at HGTV and other sites for ideas, but not me in the end or my four dogs and heavens knows the house is set up for them.

On a side note I don't mention payments or money to neighbors (ours is paid for and no debt) and that is something neighbor has mentioned to me more than once in passing the cost of her home. She is leaving her job to run for State Representative(she will be great at it), so she is downsizing to less expense. So that decor and loveliness comes with a cost, that I don't want in my life I guess.

I think we all want nice no matter what we have or where and how we live.

ApatheticNoMore
9-15-15, 10:49pm
I remember some years ago feeling very surprised at all the "art" showing up in places like Walmart.

Well I'm tacky, I've even decorated with photos from the thrift shop taken by heaven knows who! Usually used a new frame. See I hang photos of other people's families and think about them ... ok actually I'm tacky not psychotic, it's actually nature photos, no people. I have zero taste and decorating skills. But hanging stuff on the walls seems to add some kind of gravity and substance to white walls, and the colors of the nature pics are very pretty, the personal touch is the photos are all in this state and remind me of vacations time out of mind (most have water, apparently not having heard of the drought). I gave away most the small stuff that sits though, have a few larger of the sitting decorations, only kept one small one probably cause I paid too much (most of the others were from the thrift shop and to the thrift shop they returned)

kib
9-16-15, 1:22am
Oh, I love hand painted thrift store stuff. Who knows, might be the next Picasso. As long as I like it and it feels like someone put in effort, I might bring it home. What I mean is the machine-made duplicates purchased purely because they match the couch. Never occurred to me.

Gardenarian
9-21-15, 2:53pm
Oh, I love hand painted thrift store stuff. Who knows, might be the next Picasso. As long as I like it and it feels like someone put in effort, I might bring it home. What I mean is the machine-made duplicates purchased purely because they match the couch. Never occurred to me.

My favorite piece of art in our house (aside from dd's) is a hand painted mandala, all pink and yellow and god leaf - that I got a Goodwill for a few dollars. It makes me happy.

freshstart
9-21-15, 3:33pm
When I moved into my townhouse in the early 2000s, I hated that all the walls were bright white. I do like the way white walls look in Dwell magazine, that was not how they were. Over the years painted all of it, much better. I prefer modern, smooth lines, few tchotchkes. Artwork was inexpensive black and white photos all framed the same that DD and I found over the years. And eventually, that's what I had but with inexpensive furniture because it had to be dog/kid friendly. The last big thing (to me) was replace all the flooring throughout the house with a laminate I really liked. Put vinyl that looked like old linoleum (cannot explain this properly) from the 50's in the BRs and done. Next up was someday cabinet refacing and countertop replacement in the kitchen and baths.

and then the sudden decision to sell, it would not have sold with the old flooring (rugs from when built in '92), I get that, but it felt like a ginormous waste to have done all the floors. Then, with my furnishings in, I felt the relatively neutral colors I had chosen for the walls were fine. But when I moved out, the realtor hit me with painting everything bright white again. OMG, I thought it looked like an institution but he knew more than me so it was done.

The house I am in now cannot be the minimalist modern-feel home that I want because other people have needs and wishes, too. Like the not-matching Lazy Boy recliners in the LR, gag. But I do what I can and over look the rest. Surprisingly, they agreed to paint the common areas. The gray color is not my fav, but I like it better than white. My aunt made gorgeous straight valences (I hate ruffled ones, lol) that tie in the colors. The fixtures in the house have that Tuscany feel, I like clean, simple, modern fixtures. But will not waste money when these are new. DD and I have our rooms and our BR the way we like things. Good enough.

It amazes me how even just painting can change the whole feel of a space

kally
9-21-15, 7:35pm
update: today my kitchen looks like a workshop, not a decorator's kitchen. Squash on the table, green tomatoes in the oven, almond miso pasta alfredo in the vitamix and onions in the Instant Pot. It is never going to even look clean, let alone beautiful. Ah well.... we get a lot of good food.

pony mom
9-21-15, 11:21pm
I find a lot of the so-called "artwork" sold in stores so boring and generic. I call it "decorator art". It's those framed paintings and prints sold in places like Kohl's, Bed, Bath & Beyond, etc. that look a bit modern and neutral.

The stuff on your walls should be unique and special to the people living with it. All of the framed pieces I have are things I love looking at every day. All were chosen individually, and not something that would match my rug and sofa.

freshstart
9-21-15, 11:40pm
i agree. I have a friend whose husband is a painter. I don't care for the bazillion ocean pics but he does these other ones that are from the school of my favorite artist, whose name is not popping up, grrr. Anyway, I bought prints of these and feel surround by the "real" thing, even though I'm not

SteveinMN
9-22-15, 11:36am
I find a lot of the so-called "artwork" sold in stores so boring and generic. I call it "decorator art". It's those framed paintings and prints sold in places like Kohl's, Bed, Bath & Beyond, etc. that look a bit modern and neutral.
I call it "art by the pound". And I include those all-too-familiar (around here, anyway) paintings of lit cabins in the snowy woods, gazed upon by deer with no deer stand or hunter's orange in sight.

Radicchio
9-22-15, 1:03pm
I have some very meaningful art work by friends, one of whom was a local professional artist and sold her paintings for a lot of money. I also have a framed piece of artwork by my child circa age 8 in my office---not only is it very meaningful to me, but I actually think it is quite good. In fact, my child won an award for this particular piece.

I am not an artist. I can admire the talent that went into producing "great art" and even like the end product, yet not want to look at it every day in my home. So I do buy some of what has been dubbed here as "decorator art," not REAL art. And I agree, they are not great art. But I find them pleasing and restful to look at and they do fit in with the rest of my decor. I like a very clean, minimal look throughout the house, with basic coordinating colors on big items (walls, flooring, etc.) but bright colors added in smaller items that can also be changed out if desired. In fact, I like the staged look of many homes. I try to keep surfaces clean and things put away---to me it's restful. However, I certainly don't mind the Sunday paper laying around on Sunday afternoon (by Tuesday I'd want it out, though), or a puzzle half-finished on the coffee table for a while, etc. So maybe I'm somewhere in-between. I don't think that everything on my walls has to have deep, personal connection, but I can appreciate those of you who have an eye for art wanting to do so.

We don't all dress alike, so why would we decorate a home the same way?

freshstart
9-22-15, 4:15pm
he does these other ones that are from the school of my favorite artist, whose name is not popping up, grrr. Anyway, I bought prints of these and feel surround by the "real" thing, even though I'm not

Edward Hopper! That's my favorite artist, that was driving me nuts. Next, my favorite female artist who if I am remembering properly, her name is Sara something. Why does my brain have to take the good stuff? grrr

Radicchio
9-23-15, 2:14pm
I do like Edward Hopper's work. I remember being especially fond of one that is looking at a diner through the window. That has always appealed to me because as a child when travelling through neighborhoods at night I would always look into the windows that were lighted and didn't have curtains and made up stories about what was going on in each home. It was soothing, so when I look at that it feels relaxing and familiar. I also think he has a colorful sunset which I really like.